Letters to the Editor

Change is good for Federal Way schools | Letter from Tony Moore

“Nothing is intrinsically valuable; the value of everything is attributed to it, assigned to it, from outside the things itself, by people.” These noted words from Professor John Barth have never been more true. As we stand at the forefront of national education reform, the value of education, its true worth, is what we wrestle with daily in this ever-changing world.

We would like to thank parents, students, teachers and staff for their enthusiastic discussions of the recent changes in how we educate and assess our students. The board and administration is listening to every word.

Our community has a rich tradition of educating children. Efforts to help students reach their full potential are evident on many levels, both within the district and in the greater Federal Way community. Now more than ever, we must unite to make this a reality. The decisions we make — or fail to make — will echo through generations.

In 2009, under the leadership of former superintendent Tom Murphy, the board sought to improve education in the Federal Way School District. Research into national “best practice” led us to a policy of Standards Based Education (SBE). The clarity and transparency inherent in SBE helped the policy to pass unanimously.

We are not the only district in the nation implementing SBE. We are, however, part of the leading edge of education reform. I am proud of the courage, foresight and wisdom of our board, administration and teachers who spent countless hours to develop and implement the transition to SBE. It was and is the right thing to do.

The transparency and resulting clarity of the SBE policy is one of our major motivators for implementation. Giving parents and students a clear picture of what they will learn and master is a major part of our efforts.

Students know what they are expected to learn and earn grades based on what they know. It also allows parents to know the standards and receive clear information showing what their students have learned so far.

Recently, one of our teachers remarked that one of the perceptions about transparency is a notion that things should be “easy.” He was right, but the truth is change like this is never easy. We knew this going into the 2011-2012 year.

I will readily confess that effective education reform is not easy, nor simple, nor without challenges — but it can be done, and it can be effective. At every turn, the board and Superintendent Rob Neu have and will be looking for “bottom up” solutions, and we welcome ideas from our stakeholders. We are working to ensure that each child achieves mastery of all subjects.

Tony Moore, president, Federal Way School Board


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